Our Family

Our Family

Monday, December 2, 2019

Our Week in Review (November 25th-Dec 1st)

No school this week because of Thanksgiving break.  It was nice to have a week off of our regular school work, but we still stayed busy!

Monday was the 4 H Holiday Craft workshop.  It was split into two sessions, a morning session for younger children and an afternoon session for older children.  Nick and Alex and I volunteered to help with the morning session so Lily, Christian, and Emmie were with us and just were going to kill time until after lunch.  But, two people that signed up for the morning session did not show up so there were two sets of extra materials so Lily and Emmie got to make the extra crafts rather then have the supplies go to waste (Christian was fine with that.)

They made a snowman, a gumball machine ornament, a button tree ornament, a wood slice ornament, and decorated an ornament with a piece of ribbon inside that was the measure of the child.

We went and had lunch and headed back for the afternoon.  They decorated a picture frame with buttons and designs, did an embroidery hoop stencil craft, a snowflake button ornament, and a tree out of mason jar rings.

We had to rush out at the end because Emmie had been complaining of ear pain for over a week so I made her an appointment.  He didn't find anything wrong with the ear or sinuses or anything else, but prescribed some drops that I hoped would help.  Still bot sure what is going on but she hasn't complained as much this week.

Tuesday we picked up Chelsea, Liam, and Willow and went to see Frozen 2.  It was not as good as the first one but it was a really good movie and everyone enjoyed it.

I made that shirt for Willow

Wednesday we were busy baking pies and desserts for Thanksgiving.

Thursday was Thanksgiving!

Friday morning at 3:00 am Nick left for 4 H National Congress in Atlanta.  He comes home Tuesday night.  I haven't heard much from him but have seen some pictures on Facebook and one of the chaperones texted this one to me.

Saturday we started decorating for Christmas.  We hope to get a tree this week. 

 Lily, Christian, and Emmie have spent a ton of time outside this week.  They have been out almost all day every day when it wasn't raining (and even spent some time on the porch when it was) making and playing in a fort they made and just playing. 
They are under the trees in their fort

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 14

The last victim fell to the illness this week so now that we've all had it, I am so glad it's over!  And I hope we never get it (or anything else would be nice) again!  Our homeschool goals this week were to finish up what we started last week and get to a good stopping place to take a week off for Thanksgiving next week.

Bible: We read 3 chapters in the book of John.

History: We completed lessons 67, 68, and 69 in The Mystery of History Vol 1.

Geography: We completed lesson 2 on the Pacific Northwest in Let's Go Geography.

Science: We read through Chapter 3 in Botany but did not do the activities.

Music Appreciation: We finished the section on Richard Wagner in Zeezok Music Appreciation 2 (he was an interesting individual.)

Lily worked this week on multiplication diagnostics in CTC Math and after working on those we realized she needs to go back and revisit multiplying large numbers so we will start working on that again after the break.  She finished Morning Girl in Lightning Literature and did 4 pages of her Reading Eggs workbook.

Emmie completed addition diagnostics in CTC Math.  She is working on Dr. Suess quotes for copywork and read through and did activities on Sequoyah for Lightning Lit.  She also completed 2 lessons in AAR Level 3.

Anthony and Christian did 4 days of math.  They completed lesson 1 of AAS Level 7.  They finished Robin Hood and also their persuasive essays (those need a bit of practice we may do another one after the break or maybe work on some free writing and come back to it I'm not sure yet.)

We had babies Monday and Tuesday this week.

Monday the girls had gymnastics.

Tuesday was a beautiful day and we spent a lot of it outside.

Wednesday was Kid's Club and Children's Choir and it was Alex's birthday!

Thursday was dance and a 4 h STEM Club meeting.

Friday we had music lessons.

Sunday after church we helped decorate for Christmas.

I wrote my last Crew review this week.  I had some second thoughts a few times this week and whether or not I should stay on.  I hope I made the right decision. 

Nick's off school all next week so we are off all week too!  We have 4 h workshop and are hoping to get to the movies to see Frozen II (shhhh) and then Nick leaves Friday for Atlanta gets home Tuesday, stays home Wednesday and then leaves Thursday for Dallas. 

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Homeschool Crew Review: Thinkwell

Thinkwell  offers online math courses for 6th to 8th Grade Math (6th Grade to Pre-Algebra including Essentials and Honors) and High School Math  (Algebra to Calculus including Essentials and Honors.)  For the last several weeks we have had an opportunity to use and review 8th Grade Math (PREALGEBRA) from Thinkwell.

Thinkwell's courses included online videos, exercises, quizzes, and tests along with printable notes and worksheets for students.  You can choose to pick and choose areas that your child needs to work on or follow the lesson plans for a full course.   Each lesson contains several short videos with step by step explanations that can viewed and reviewed as many times as the students needs.  Online exercises for the student to complete gives step by step answers and printable exercises have step by step answer keys.  You can choose to print the worksheets from the course website or purchase the entire set of worksheets separately.  Online quizzes and tests also give step by step answers and grades for quizzes and tests are recorded in the course.  Subscriptions are for 12 months but can be extended by 1,3, or 6 months.  Placement tests are available.

I have been using the 8th Grade Math course (PREALGEBRA) with my 14 year old 8th grader.  We had been using another online math course but were looking for something new when this review came up.  One of my main reasons for using online math classes is so that I do not have to teach and that my students can complete the work independently.  With our previous course we discovered that while the answers were given to each question, they were not given step by step.  Every time my son got something wrong and wasn't sure why he got it wrong I would have to go back and work the problems out myself to help him figure out what he was doing wrong.  This was adding time to my school day and making him wait for me to be available to help him instead of working at his own schedule.  I was VERY excited to see that Thinkwell shows answers to every single problem step by step.  This had made a huge difference in our homeschool!

How does a lesson work?

Anthony logs in to the website.  There is no separate log in for students and teachers, it's all the same, and clicks on go to course.  Then the main page pops up.

You click on the chapter you are working on.

Then the subtopic.

All of the coursework will be on that page (except quizzes and tests those are in the assessment section.)  You can print notes, watch the videos, complete the online exercises and Interactive activity and print the topic worksheet.  When Anthony is working if he understands the topic and gets all of the online exercises correct he does not do the printed worksheet, but if he needs a little more practice he does the printed worksheet and checks it with the answer key.

What did we think?

We love the video instruction.  The teacher is funny and interesting and the videos are a good length.  He does a great job of using visual examples and showing how to do everything step by step.

I love the combination of online and printable exercises.  You can choose what works best for your child or to do both if extra practice is needed.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that everything is worked out step by step.  This is so important especially as students move into upper levels of math.

The  daily work and quizzes and tests have a good amount of problems.  There are enough questions to give the students enough practice but not too many that they are overwhelmed. 

I like that the grades for the quizzes and tests are stored.

The biggest pro?  Anthony understands it.  He is doing very well with his lessons and understanding why he misses something when he gets it wrong.

What Would I Change?

A few picky little things.  The log in is just a bit awkward to me.  I wish there was a separate student log in that would take them right where they left off and a parent log in for the answer keys and grades and check lists.

For some reason it only shows that he completes the first video even though he always watches all of them in a lesson.

I wish the grades were stored for all the online work including the online exercises.

I wish the quizzes and tests were in the same area as the coursework instead of a separate spot.  We almost missed the first one but thankfully I had read the lesson plan that day (he doesn't usually just goes to what is next.)

Overall I think Thinkwell is an outstanding math course!  I wish we had started with it this year instead of the course we did start with.  We will definitely be using it for the rest of the year!! I have reviewed several online math programs over the years and this is my favorite for middle school and up.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Homeschool Wrap Up Week 13

The week started off pretty good but went downhill really fast.  But we survived and made it through and a new week starts tomorrow! 

Monday I got Nick to school, returned home to do some chores and start out school day.  We read through one chapter in the book of John, and completed 3 MOH History lessons (64, 65, and 66) before lunch.  In the afternoon everyone did a math lesson (Emmie missed one and cried and cried.)  Emmie worked on the poem All Things Bright and Beautiful in literature and we did the warm up lesson for the story Billy Makes Friends in AAR Level 3, she also did some copywork,  Lily worked on her Morning Girl lesson in literature and her Reading Eggs workbook.  Christian and Anthony started the first lesson in AAS Level 7, read a chapter of Robin Hood and completed the comprehension questions, and started an outline on a persuasive essay.

I picked up Nick from school and took the girls to gymnastics.  Then I ran them all home after and ran back to town for a homeschool meeting (3 trips to town and back = 2 hours driving for me.)  When I got home and went to check on all of the children, I found Anthony not feeling well.  I was up most of the night with him.

Tuesday Chelsea took Nick to school because she had a sub job at the high school and she had to bring the children out here.  I confined Anthony to his bed upstairs and kept everyone else downstairs.  For school we read one chapter in the book of John, watched an episode on Post Impressionist in HiGasfy, and started lesson 2 in Let's Go Geography Year 2 on the Pacific Northwest.  Christian and Lily did Math.  Lily did her literature and Emmie read Billy Makes Friends in AAR Level 3.  Nick had a field trip to SAU and needed to be picked up at 10:00 Tuesday night so I had to run to town to get him.

Liam joined in on our geography lesson

Wednesday I ran Nick to school in the morning, came home and tried to get caught up on a few things on the computer and then gathered the children to the upstairs living room for school.  It was really cold that morning and I wanted to sit in front of the fire.  As soon as I started reading my phone went off.  It was a text from Nick who wasn't feeling well and needed to be picked up from school.  I went and got him and gave up on the idea of school for the day as it was almost lunchtime. Instead I cleaned and disinfected everything (again.)  Then we had to leave for church (3rd trip to town again) leaving Anthony and Nick home. 

Lily and Emmie packed some OCC boxes

We had some drama at church that was ridiculous and unnecessary and ended up being a personal attack on me and two of my children.  I really hate conflict and confrontation.  One good thing that came out of it though is that it made me really stop and think about my children and all of the responsibilities they end up with without having a say in the matter because I am in charge of something and whether or not that's fair.  Especially when they go above and beyond and still get criticized for it.  I spoke with the children that evening and explained that if they no longer want to help with it they don't have to just because I'm in charge.  They can choose not to.  It also helped me make another decision.  I have been on the Homeschool Review Crew for 10 years.  I have written 449 reviews with one more due this week.  I had been on the fence about returning for a few other reasons.  But it occurred to me that the same thing happens over and over again with reviews.  I throw something at the kids telling them I need them to read this or use this or switch math because I need to write a review and I have not given them much of a say in it at all.  It's time for that to change.  I will not be returning next year.  I think in January when it starts rolling again I will miss it especially when its things from companies I love.  I still would consider writing reviews for those companies I love!  We have been very blessed with many things I would not have known about or could not afford if it wasn't for the Crew. Right now I just feel relieved to have that decision made and to take control of my homeschool and more of my time.

Wednesday night Christian came down sick.  I was up with him most of the night and cleaning and disinfecting everything again.  He really had it the worst.  Everyone but Art has had it by now so I am hoping we are done being sick for awhile!!

Thursday we did not even attempt school.  We watched a few educational TV shows on Animal Planet.  I was so, so tired.  I got Alex to a meeting and Emmie to dance.

This chicken got a bit lost and ended up in our swing set.  The girls put some hay in there because the cats like to sleep there and it got so cold at night this week (we were down to 18 degrees.) 

Friday morning I got Nick to school came home and took care of paying bills and other paperwork I needed to get done.  Made an appointment for the dog at the vet who had a mysterious fluid filled lump on her side.  I had to cancel music to take the dog.  She has a small puncture wound that caused a bruise and the bruise to fill up with blood.  They stuck a needle in it to make sure that was what it was and gave her two weeks worth of antibiotics. We had to run her back home (because she was bleeding everywhere)  and then go back to town again to get groceries.  Art got out of work early to go look at a car someone had told us about and we bought it.  It is a 2004 Buick Lesabre, leather interior and was very well taken care of.  Nick's vehicle is now nicer then mine.  We will get it on the road this week and he will be driving himself again. 

I hope you had a great week!

Happy Homeschooling!